The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Father Callan’s Commentary on Acts 11:1-18

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 14, 2011

1. And the apostles and brethren, who were in Judea, heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God.
2. And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him,
3. Saying: Why didst thou go in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them?
4. But Peter began and declared to them the matter in order, saying:
5. I was in the city of Joppe praying, and I saw in an ecstasy of mind a vision, a certain vessel descending, as it were a great sheet let down from heaven by four corners, and it came even unto me.
6. Into which looking, I considered, and saw fourfooted creatures of the earth, and beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
7. And I heard also a voice saying to me: Arise, Peter; kill and eat.
8. And I said: Not so, Lord; for nothing common or unclean hath ever entered into my mouth.
9. And the voice answered again from heaven: What God hath made clean, do not thou call common.
10. And this was done three times: and all were taken up again into heaven.
11. And behold, immediately there were three men come to the house wherein I was, sent to me from Csesarea.
12. And the Spirit said to me, that I should go with them, nothing doubting. And these six brethren went with me also: and we entered into the man’s house.
13. And he told us how he had seen an angel in his house, standing, and saying to him: Send to Joppe, and call hither Simon, who is surnamed Peter,
14. Who shall speak to thee words, whereby thou shalt be saved, and all thy house.

The news of what had taken place in the case of Cornelius and his household had spread to the Apostles and to the faithful scattered over Judea. When Peter, therefore, went up to Jerusalem, those who were of the circumcision, i.e., those converted from Judaism to Christianity, who believed that all converts from paganism should be made to submit to circumcision and certain purifications and observe the Mosaic Law and its ceremonies, began to remonstrate with him because he had received into the Church Gentiles on a level with Jews, not requiring them to be circumcised and to observe the other Jewish rites. But Peter justified his mode of acting by explaining that he had simply done for those Gentiles what God had ordered him to do. He therefore explains to his criticizers (verses 5-16) the vision he had received.

15. And when I had begun to speak, the Holy Ghost fell upon them, as upon us also in the beginning.

In the beginning; i.e., on the day of Pentecost, when the Apostles began their ministry.

16. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how that he said: John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.

see above, on aCTS 1:5, also on Matthew 3:11.

17. If then God gave them the same grace, as to us also who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ; who was I, that could withstand God?

By pouring out on those pagans the very same Holy Spirit with His gifts which the Apostles had received, God showed that there was no distinction to be made between converts from paganism and those from Judaism. If, then, God did not distinguish, why should Peter?

18. Having heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying: God then hath also to the Gentiles given repentance unto life.

Peter’s argument and explanation were sufficient; and those who had objected now glorified the wisdom and mercy of God which had given to the Gentiles also the grace of conversion to the true faith. Some of the Jews, however, later raised the same difficulties (Acts 15).

3 Responses to “Father Callan’s Commentary on Acts 11:1-18”

  1. […] Father Callan’s Commentary on Today’s First Reading (Acts 11:1-18). […]

  2. […] Father Callan’s Commentary on Today’s First Reading (Acts 11:1-18). […]

  3. […] Father Callan’s Commentary on Today’s First Reading (Acts 11:1-18). […]

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